Warriors guard Jordan Poole was a star early in Golden State’s NBA Playoff series against the Grizzlies, but in the fourth quarter of Game 6, when the Warriors had an opportunity to close the series out, Poole exited the game with about seven minutes left until the final buzzer.
And in came forward Andrew Wiggins. Suddenly, the basketball started to go in the hoop with some regularity for Golden State. Along with the return of “Game 6” Klay Thompson, center Kevon Looney’s domination on the glass, and the newfound aggression of F Draymond Green, the Warriors eliminated the Grizzlies in a 110-96 win and are on to the Western Conference Finals.
Warriors superstar guard Stephen Curry had a big game too, finishing with 29 points on 27 shots with some big buckets late. After the game, he said Wiggins doesn’t get too excited, but “good, old Wigs” simply stays steady and makes plays.
… he gave us life to start that fourth quarter. You know, made the big 3. I think he hit a tough at-the-shot-clock 2 that kept the momentum, got to steal the dunk, and then he got that three, right wing I think, and those are huge plays because it’s a one-, two-possession (game) either way.
“Still didn’t get a reaction out of him yet. Got one this series when he dunked on Brandon Clarke (in Game 2), but the rest of it, he’s just good, old Wigs making plays.”–Stephen CurryThe Athletic
Wiggins was smiling after this game, however. (Curry said he missed most of the smiles when he was granting postgame interviews).
The smiles were directly related to Wiggins’ 20 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocked shots. When he entered the game late for Poole, Wiggins made a 3-point shot right away and followed it up with a steal and a dunk, helping turn the tide in a game the Grizzlies had been in control of, as Curry alluded to.
With Curry, Green, and Thompson all past 30 years old, their youthful supporting cast is more important than ever, despite the still-elite skill held by the Warriors’ big three. Lately, Poole has thrived in that role.
But in this game, the younger Wiggins helped push the team forward when they needed it most, in an elimination game against a determined opponent. He showed he’s up to the challenge that the playoffs bring, and with so many other offensive threats on the court in Golden State, Wiggins can continue to be “good, old Wigs,” mature beyond his years and making the best play available with his celebrated athleticism and skill — perhaps all the way to the NBA Finals.